Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, February 06, 2009

Melvin: No discretion to reduce more than 2 levels for crack offenders

In U.S. v. Melvin, No. 08-13497 (Feb. 3, 2008) the Court held that sentencing courts are not authorized to grant a sentence reduction greater than the two-level reduction provided by the Sentencing Commission for crack cocaine offenders eligible under its Amendment 706.
The Court noted that the sentence reduction statute required sentence reductions to be consistent with the policy statements of the Commission. Here, the Commission’s policy statement limited the reduction to two levels. The Court rejected the argument that the policy statement was advisory, pointing out that sentence reduction proceedings are not full de novo sentencings. In addition, Booker did not excise § 3582(c)(2) when it made the guidelines advisory. Further, since the policy statement did not mandate a sentence reduction, it was not mandatory, and therefore could not run afoul of Booker. Finally, Kimbrough did not mention § 3582(c)(2), and therefore was inapplicable.